Having contemplated this thread and explored your suggested links I would now like to explore "R" more seriously. I have checked with colleagues and "R" indeed seems to be widely used so I have some support.
Are you able to suggest steps for learning how to work effectively with "R"? and where does your book fit into this?
Not being an IT professional, when learning new technologies I find "set up" the hardest; such defining classpaths in java, configuration files for databases etc. With free and open source software the documentation for such things tend to be sparse. As an example, for Java and Servlets the Head First series and the Murach books thankfully covered these aspects well.
What is a good resource for covering the 'basics' of beginning with "R"?
Thanks to you, and to Saloon, for this interesting thread.
when in doubt put it in parenthesis and stick a dollar sign in front of it, only good can come from this.
R can be hard to learn because much of the online sources are voluminous, fragmented, or written by experts for experts. There are lots of reference books or specialty books on R, but they assume that you are already familiar with the language, or that you are a subject matter expert.
It sounds self promotional, but I wrote "R in Action" specifically for the person who wants to learn R quickly. I wanted to create a book that would teach you the basics and then take you into intermediate and advanced territory. The book is divided up that way (Getting Started, Data Management, Basic Statistics and Graphs, Intermediate Statistics and Graphs, Advanced Statistics and Graphs, Technical Appendices).
My ultimate goal is to give you a good grounding, lots of practical worked examples, some AH HA moments, and a road map for learning topics that are outside the scope of the book. You get into data from the first chapter, and in each subsequent chapter. The datasets are available online (as is the code).
I don't assume that you have any experience with R, and you don't need an IT background. A significant portion of the book does not assume a statistical background (though a number of the advanced chapters do).
The table of contents and first chapter are available on-line. See if it fits your needs.